may I see your fake documentation?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Today I signed my son up for kindergarten which was all kinds of emotional for me. I haven’t had him for long enough, and it’s breaking my heart a little that he’ll go to school so soon. I missed two and a half years of his life. I know that keeping him home from school won’t give me back those years, but I still grieve what all that I missed, all that he missed during that time.

The worst thing about the whole experience for me, however, was giving them the documentation they needed to register him, including birth certificate and social security card. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at my children’s documentation, so it was somehow shocking to me when I pulled that birth certificate out of the safe. I almost attempted to register him without using it at all, except I’m not certain they would have allowed it.

Because it’s a lie.

The whole certificate is a lie. It is not a certificate of his birth. It’s a certificate of his adoption which they’ve fabricated to look like the certificate of his birth. It looks just like every other birth certificate in the nation, which I’m sure is partly the point, only I know and Wendell knows and Brenden knows that I was not there. That wasn’t his name when he was born. He happened to be born in the same city we adopted him in, otherwise, that part would be a lie as well. The dates are totally false – it lists the date of filing as about a month after his birth, even though it was actually issued a couple months after his adoption. It’s just all a lie.

Fortunately, we have a great county agency and good workers in a state that has some only semi-restrictive laws regarding this issue. They gave us copies of the original birth certificates for the kids’ records. Then all the records are sealed. No one is permitted to access them without a court order for a very long time. If they had not given us the copies, the kids could access them with the appropriate documentation and identification once they are 21 years old. This isn’t the case in every state, and it’s not even the case for Ohio adoptees who were adopted between 1964 and 1996. Those adoptees can’t access their own adoption records without a court order.

It’s not that I’m completely offended by the birth certificate. I understand it serves a purpose. It’s that it comes out of a culture that shamed and secreted adoption practices for so many years that it’s nearly impossible to imagine it another way. What about the rights of my children? Don’t they deserve to know the truth whenever they want to know it? Thankfully, knowing the truth isn’t an issue for our kids, but it doesn’t change the fact that the official documentation they will present for the rest of their lives will not reflect the truth. In some states, adoptees never have access to the truth of their birth. What a terrible thing to do to the children of our nation.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic or advocating for adoptee rights, check out this link: Adoptee Rights Coalition

If you live in Ohio, please contact your state Senator and ask them to support Senate Bill 23. The House Bill regarding this issue is scheduled to be voted on today. This will change the antiquated adoption laws to allow access to original birth certificates by the adoptees. Adoption Equity Ohio is fighting to make these bills become law. If you visit their page, please click on the learn more button to access some quick facts about the laws here. It is easily read and well explained.

Let’s hope that the secrecy and shame that have fueled adoption practices for so very long in this country are being changed for the better.

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